What does a balance between academic achievement and well-being look like?

If you’re planning next year’s curriculum delivery and asking yourself this question can we ask you to think again.  As a recent joint report by the health and the education committees at Westminster pointed out:

“Achieving a balance between promoting academic attainment and well-being should not be regarded as a zero-sum activity. Greater well-being can equip pupils to achieve academically.”

Commons select committee report May 2017

Here at Lindley we recognise that driving for academic results without allowing time and space for pupils to develop life-long skills for well-being is self-defeating.  We know that investing a child’s ability to influence their own well-being is a crucial part of achieving sustainable academic results.

What is a truly effective way of developing skills for well-being?

Taking pupils out of the classroom and challenging and inspiring them in new and different settings is a great starting point.  Add in some encouragement to take responsibility for themselves and others, challenge them with some problems to solve together and enable that with some skilled facilitation of learning and you’re describing a well designed and delivered outdoor learning experience.

Why outdoor learning?

Apart from the very real enjoyment and personal achievement in outdoor adventurous activities, there is growing evidence that learning in a natural environment is more engaging and impactful for both teacher and pupil. We’ve pulled together a little research to help: Evidence of Impact

It’s more than just the formal measurable stuff!  Teachers with experience of well designed outdoor residential programmes often say that they ‘get to see a new side of a young person’.  That kind of insight and inspiration for a teacher is invaluable and can transform their chosen approach to that young person back in school.  The opposite is also true… seeing your teacher in the more informal setting of a residential programme can be the catalyst for a whole new relationship.  It can enable that young person to open up, for help and persevere in explaining their difficulties.

Teachers … often say that they ‘get to see a new side of a young person’

If you think outdoor learning may not be the vehicle for developing life skills, consider the long term health and well being implications of sparking a passion for outdoor activities… and tell me you’ve never heard a friend or colleague say they got into hill walking, running, climbing, cycling etc through their teacher taking them on a trip from school.  I owe my geography teacher, Mr Eccles, a big thank you!

So what’s stopping you?

Lindley has a wealth of experience in designing and delivering residential experiences that use outdoor challenges for the personal development of children and young people.  As a result we know that it takes more than our intervention to make the difference and we seek to work with teachers to set the challenge at the right level and ensure that it builds on personal development progress made to date.

If you want to break out of the academic achievement vs well-being trap get in touch and we’ll help you refine your residential approach or design a completely new and impactful experience.

Author: Andy Robinson